Journ-eleb? Celeb-ralist?

If it’s not bad enough that our celebrity-obsessed culture means the ascendancy of the US Weekly’s of the world at the expense of serious journalism, (Y’know, that iron core of news, currently grappling with an existential crisis), now celebrities want to be journalists, too. And because they’re celebrities, they can get some serious “gets.”

Sean Penn allegedly recently visited with Cuban leader Fidel Castro earlier this week and then chatted up Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez on Wednesday. Famous people interviewing other famous people that ordinary folks have no access to is all well and good in Interview magazine, but sit-downs with reclusive dictators/presidents are altogether different. In case you weren’t keeping track, Castro hasn’t given an interview to a Western journalist since he became ill three years ago.

What do we call this this celebrity journalism dabbling? Borrowing from the glossy gossip mags’ time-honored tradition of splicing two words together (Brad and Angelina = Brangelina; freaking + ugly = fugly) I’m thinking some combination of celebrity and journalism. All hail celebralism!

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Alexandra Fenwick is an assistant editor at CJR.